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Homeowner sets sights on city life

Tue., May 22, 2007

“He’s kind of overprotective,” Terri Jones says of her boyfriend, Will Parks, who worries that her plan to leave the South Hill for Spokane’s urban jungle is a mistake.

At first blush, Parks’ concern for the petite blond 40-something seems plausible: Jones has her heart set on a loft unit in the new Edge, a sleek, ultra-modern development going up in a less-than-gentrified area east of downtown.

Then you see the steely determination in Jones’ eyes.

“Sure, there’s an adult book store next door, but I never see anyone there,” she says. “And that neighborhood is getting better.”

Jones, who currently lives in a Craftsman bungalow near Manito Park, is impartial to her boyfriend’s rural lifestyle.

“Will lives in the boonies – well, not the boonies, but it takes about 30 minutes to drive out there,” she says. “With gas, it’s a lot.”

Besides, Jones says she feels safer in the hustle and bustle of the city.

“I feel more secure having people around,” she says. “I think it gives you a sense of security.”

Jones, a divorced mother of two grown kids who moved to Spokane 10 years ago when her Portland company expanded, says she loves her historic bungalow. But years of yardwork and home maintenance have taken their toll.

Last year, when Jones and a friend ducked into an open house at the Kempis condominiums downtown, she started thinking about downsizing. As the months ticked by, Jones says the condo idea stuck in the back of her mind. But it wasn’t until last winter that she began exploring her options.

“I started getting serious when I was watching my lawn grow,” she says.

After months of searching, Jones is now preparing to buy a 1,000-square-foot space in The Edge, a RenCorp development that occupies the 100-year-old Western Soap Building near the growing U-district.

Jones says one thing she looks forward to is cutting her commute time in half.

“And in good weather I could bike,” she says, adding that her company, Willamette Dental, is located downtown.

However, while Jones looks forward to the day when she can give up her yard, she wouldn’t mind a few flower boxes in the new loft.

“I have a little ‘Juliet’ balcony and I could do something small,” she says, adding that the building’s planned rooftop garden would provide additional horticultural opportunities.

“I also think it will be a good place to get to know neighbors,” she says.

Jones adds that while she loves her South Hill neighbors, she hopes there will be a strong sense of community in her new building.

“I think in a way there will actually be more of a sense of community there,” she says.

One thing Jones won’t miss about her Manito bungalow: Winters spent shoveling snow.

“I used to think it was quaint when I first moved here,” she says. “But after about six years…” she trails off. Then the steely determination returns: “I’m ready to move on.”

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